How the Seahawks Integrate Sport Psychology Into Team Practices

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It is often asked, how do teams fit mental skills sessions into the practice setting? What are some things that sport psychologists work on during these sessions?

With the start of the NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks uncover their recipe for success. First off, success starts with the head coach. Fundamentally, the head coach needs to create an environment tailored for success. For Pete Carroll (head coach of the Seahawks) success starts by supporting the players by showing that the coaches and the organization care about them. Carroll feels that “happy players make for better players.” His mantra with the team is “Do your job better than it has ever been done before,” through the use of positivity of thought, words, and actions.

How does a sport psychologist fit into this culture? Since 2011, sport psychologist Mike Gervais has worked with the team at practice and has also been spotted on the sidelines during games. Sessions with Gervais include meditation, visualization, and neurotopia brain-performance testing that includes neurofeedback (brainwave testing), and status profiling that identifies: “what is going on in their lives, how much sleep they are getting, their goals, and how they are dealing with stressors.”

How does this help the athletes? Russell Wilson (starting quarterback for the Seahawks) states that his work with Gervais helps him prepare for competition and high-pressure situations by “being in the moment and increasing chaos throughout practice, so when I go into the game, everything is relaxed.”

To read more about how Pete Carroll and his innovative staff are changing the environment of professional football, click on the following link:
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9581925/seattle-seahawks-use-unusual-techniques-practice-espn-magazine

by Jimmy Yoo, SPINw consultant

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